Civil remedies for uncollected customs charges enshrined in proposed PH rule


The Philippine Department of Finance (DOF) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) have released draft guidelines for implementing civil remedies in collecting duties and taxes from an importer, as provided under the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act (CMTA).

The proposed CAO implements Sections 1132 through 1134 and other relevant sections of Republic Act No. 10863, or the CMTA. Position papers on the draft CAO will be accepted until May 25, the same day of the public hearing.

The draft covers all civil remedies for collecting import duties, taxes, fees, or charges amounting to more than P10,000 that are discovered on post-clearance audit.

Post-clearance audit is an authority exercised by BOC to conduct an audit examination, inspection, verification, and investigation of records for any goods declaration. The audit  aims to ascertain the correctness of the goods declaration and determine the liability of the importer for duties, taxes, and other charges, including any fine or penalty, within three years of the date of final payment of duties and taxes or customs clearance.

Civil remedies may be obtained by distraint, or seizure, of goods, chattels, or effects, and other personal property, including stocks and other securities, debts, credits, bank accounts, and interest in and rights to personal property. A public sale will be held in case the delinquency is not paid within 15 days of receipt of the demand letter.

Civil remedies could also be by levy upon real property and interest in rights to real estate property; civil action through the Office of the Solicitor General; and criminal action through the Department of Justice.

Either distraint or levy, or both, may be pursued at the discretion of BOC, the draft order notes.

Both remedies should not, however, be allowed for duties and taxes of not more than P10,000.

BOC will advance the amount needed to defray the cost of collection through civil or criminal action, including the cost of preserving or transporting the personal property distrained and its advertisement and sale, as well as that of advertising, selling, and making improvements to real estate property.

The remedy by distraint of personal property or levy on realty may be repeated as needed until the full amount due, including all expenses, is collected.

Except for the Court of Tax Appeals, no court may issue any order or decision until all remedies for administrative appeal have been exhausted, according to the draft. – Roumina Pablo

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